your college in 5 easy steps
The search for student aid usually begins your senior year of high school; however, you can complete some of these steps during your sophomore or junior year.
•Request applications and information from colleges.
•Visit school campuses throughout the fall to help narrow your choices.
•Look into overnight or weekend college visitation programs.
•Mark your calendar for college fairs and school visits from admissions representatives.
•Consider meeting with your school counselor to develop a college admissions plan.
•Register for the ACT1 or the SAT2 test. Consider taking a preparation course to be more comfortable with the testing process.
•Consider early admissions programs.
•Create a schedule of admissions and student aid deadlines.
•Begin completing college applications and essays.
•Request transcripts and letters of recommendation.
•Explore grants and scholarships.
•Ensure that your school has submitted your transcripts and letters of recommendation.
•Finish completing college applications and essays.
•Submit applications for early admissions programs. Consider applying online. (Be aware that many colleges charge an application fee.)
•Submit all college applications. (Be aware that many colleges charge an application fee.)
•Obtain any student aid forms that your schools may require.
•Apply for a PIN (personal identification number) from the U.S. Department of Education.
•Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
•Check on your first semester transcript.
•Update your schools on any new accomplishments.
•Submit all federal, state, and school student aid forms.
•Submit applications and any other paperwork for any grants and scholarships you identified in October.
•Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR). The U.S. Department of Education sends your SAR after they process your FAFSA. The SAR summarizes your eligibility for federal student aid.
•Sign up for Advanced Placement2 (AP2) exams. Contact your schools to find out what score is necessary to receive college credit. Consider signing up for an AP preparation course.
•Keep a look out for your admissions decision letters.
•Compare your student aid packages to the cost of school attendance.
•Make a final enrollment decision and submit your enrollment deposit, if requested.
•Sign and return student aid forms to the school you will be attending.
•Notify any schools where you have been accepted that you will not be attending.
•Take any applicable AP exams.
•Send your final transcript to your chosen college.
•Contact the school's Financial Aid Office to check your student aid package status.
•Complete any remaining student aid forms.
•Plan for college orientation, transportation, and housing.
•Finalize transportation and housing for the fall.